Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are You Nuts?

Sorry about the lack of recipes on some of my posts, but I promised to chronicle what I eat, and so this is me doing that.  I always get asked about protein and calcium, and nuts are a big part of that.  I eat a handful of nuts every day.  Mostly almonds and walnuts, but I throw in a few cashews cuz they rock.  I always buy raw, unsalted nuts.  It's alarming how much sodium we eat and don't realize it.  It's added to all processed and prepared foods.  This one time, at band camp, I saw a gal dump half a bottle of salt on her french fries.  The fries were already salted.  Gulp.

**The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day (1,500 mg if you're over 51 or have high blood pressure).  The average American gets 3,400 mg (Good Golly Miss Molly!)  Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health.  But if you eat too much, your kidneys can't eliminate all of it.  When that happens, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood.  Because sodium attracts and holds water (bloat), your blood volume increases. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries.  Can you say: congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, and chronic kidney disease?  Once you stop eating so much sodium, your taste buds change, and the addiction goes away.  Your body is amazing that way.

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